Spoilers ahead for tonight’s episode of Mr. Robot.
Poor Angela Moss. Things have been rough for Mr. Robot’s fastest-rising junior executive: She was coerced into a wildly dangerous hack of the FBI; she poisoned her relationship with her father; she endured an extremely anxious journey through E Corp’s bureaucracy; she felt she had no choice but to turn herself into the authorities and abandon her childhood friend Elliot; and in tonight’s episode, she was kidnapped and forced to play mind games with a prepubescent girl before getting read within an inch of her life by White Rose. What’s a gal to do? We caught up with the actor who bears Angela’s stress-molting ponytail, Portia Doubleday, to talk about hearing a child ask her if she’s ever cried during sex, how she learned to stop worrying and love self-help tapes, and reading Mr. Robot fan theories on Reddit.
Let’s talk about Angela’s big scene in tonight’s episode, the one where she’s in the weird room with the strange, ponytailed child, played by Mabel Tyler. Was she a challenge to work with?
She was amazing. Super-pro. Way too sophisticated. She was way calmer than I was. That was such an interesting scene. You expect a certain dynamic from a child, but I didn’t know what this was gonna be. I didn’t know how she was gonna play it or what I was getting into. But that works for the scene, because it’s incredibly ambiguous. I loved the moment where I’m walking around the room and discovering it. That was the day that I thought, Wow, I’m just grateful to be on this show. To be in this room with a weird fish tank and this copy of Lolita and all these weird clues, it was just such a departure and so imaginative and creative.
And then to have this girl come in and start asking these questions, it wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be because the environment and the dialogue aided my uncertainty. It was incredibly fun. I didn’t know if I was gonna relate to her or think of her as a child, but when she started to have this weird, deadpan sophistication, it was really startling. Especially when she lifts her shirt and Angela has no idea what’s going on. That was one of my favorite days of shooting.
Mr. Robot is not known for its fashion (sorry, Sam Esmail). Sure, Rami Malek’s black hoodie is as important to the show as Elliot Alderson himself (as faithful viewers know), but let’s be real, the hacker drama is no techie version of Sex and the City.
Except for… Angela Moss.
In season two, the AllSafe employee-turned-E Corp rising star (portrayed by Portia Doubleday) is bringing all sorts of sartorial savviness to the show, using her fashion choices to show that (a) she’s newly loaded and (b) you better take her seriously. It’s a pretty obvious departure from season one, too — this time she’s got enough beautiful blouses, slick blazers and tailored trousers to make any J.P. Morgan first-year jealous.
So, where are all of these new clothes coming from? That would be the result of a lot of hard work by costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas, who joined the series for season two. “We felt really strongly that at the office we wanted her to be this very no-nonsense sort of masculine, strong character,” Thomas tells PeopleStyle. “So what we wanted to do was take menswear and make it this empowering, feminine armor.” Oh, and she did that, all right.